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Carlos Antonio Lopez

LOPEZ, Carlos Antonio (lo'-peth), president of Paraguay, born in Asuncion, 4 November, 1790, died there, September 10, 1862. He was educated in the seminary of Asuncion, and escaped the persecution of Dr. Francia, the dictator, by hiding for many years in a remote village. After Francia's death in September, 1840, Lopez returned to Asuncion, and became the secretary of the military junta that was then in control there. Seeing that the government could be seized by any one that was cunning and strong enough to grasp it, he resolved to do so, and caused the junta to call a congress, which, under his direction, appointed a triumvirate, 23 January, 1841. He then induced one of the triumvirs, General Mariano Roque Alonso, to dissolve the triumvirate on 27 February, and a new congress of his own creation appointed Alonso and Lopez consuls for three years. In 1844 the same farce was enacted, and congress abolished the consulate, appointing Lopez president for ten years. In 1854 he was re-elected for three years, and again in 1857 for ten years, with power to appoint his temporary successor by will. He governed arbitrarily, but m general without oppression or cruelty. He gradually opened Paraguay to foreign trade and immigration, made treaties, laid the foundations of a formidable army, with fortifications, arsenal, and flotilla, constructed a railway, and provided for the education of many youths in European mechanical and scientific schools. His jealousy of all interference with the independence of Paraguay brought him into conflict with the dictator Rosas of Buenos Ayres, and his dislike of foreigners involved him in diplomatic disputes with England, France, and Brazil, which in each case were carried to the verge of hostilities, from which he escaped by shrewd diplomacy. On account of his treatment of the United States consul, and an attack on the exploring steamer "Water Witch," in 1855, a large squadron was sent by the United States government to enforce a demand for reparation, which was promised by treaty, but ultimately evaded. His long administration greatly advanced the material welfare of Paraguay, and the security of life and property was unlimited except by laws of his own enactment.--His son, Francisco Solano, president of Paraguay, born near Asuncion, 24 July, 1827 ; killed in battle, 1 March, 1870, was said to be a natural son of Carlos, but was afterward adopted by his father, and intended as his successor. In 1845 he was named commander-in-chief of the Paraguayan army, and spent some time on the frontier of Corrientes, nominally but not actually engaged in warfare "with the dictator Rosas of Buenos Ayres. In 1854 he was sent to exchange treaty ratifications with several European powers, and passed eighteen months in Europe. While there he met an Irish lady, who called herself Mrs. Lynch, and who lived apart from her husband, a French officer. She followed Lopez to Paraguay, and became his mistress, a position not deemed discreditable in that country, where marriage had been almost abolished by Francia. By her talents she acquired popularity, and exercised a controlling influence over Lopez until near the close of his life. On his return he became minister of war, and used his influence in the government chiefly for putting the country on a war footing. In 1862 General Lopez became president by his father's will, and congress chose him president for ten years from 16 October He now devoted himself actively to preparations for war, and for two years he was constantly but secretly receiving arms from Europe. In 1864 Brazil intervened in a Uruguayan civil war, and Lopez, declaring himself the protector of the "equilibrium" of the Plata river, demanded that the Brazilian forces should retire. This summons remaining unheeded, he began hostilities in November. 1864, by seizing a Brazilian mail-steamer; and in December he occupied the Brazilian province of Matto Grosso, on the upper waters of Paraguay river. Early in 1865 he sent 8,000 troops across Argentine territory into the Brazilian province of Rio Grande do Sul, and, when the Argentine government protested against this violation of its territory, he declared war on that republic. A hastily summoned congress ratified these acts, conferred the grade of marshal upon Lopez, gave him extraordinary powers, and formally declared war against Brazil and the Argentine Republic. Before this declaration was known in Buenos Ayres, Lopez seized two Argentine men-of-war that lay at anchor in Corrientes, and overran that province with his forces. Brazil, the Argentine Republic, and Uruguay concluded a secret treaty on 1 May, 1865, forming an offensive and defensive alliance against Paraguay, and before the end of this year recovered the provinces that had been occupied by Lopez. The allies invaded Paraguay early in 1866, and during the succeeding four years a war of greater proportions than had hitherto been known in South America was waged with varying fortunes on the soil of that state. Lopez impressed into service all the able-bodied males between the ages of twelve and seventy, and several lines of defence were maintained, but in February, 1868, the Brazilian squadron forced its way above the fortresses, and bombarded Asuncion, which had been evacuated by the government and all its inhabitants. Lopez now suspected the vice-president and his cabinet ministers of disloyalty, and they were imprisoned and removed to army headquarters, where they were tried before an improvised court consisting of three priests. After being put to the torture, the prisoners confessed themselves guilty and implicated others, who were quickly seized and subjected to the same process. In the course of a few weeks confessions had been extorted that finally implicated all the civil employes in Asuncion, most of the foreign diplomatic and consular officers, and all the foreigners engaged in commerce, in sweeping charges of conspiracy against the rule or even the life of Lopez. It is estimated that more than 500 persons were either executed or died by torture in the encampment of Lopez during the latter half of 1868. Among those that were executed were Lopez's brother, Benigno, his sister, and her husband, Barrios, and the bishop of Asuncion ; and Lopez's mother was exiled for asking for the pardon of her children. The United States legation was involved in the charges, and, although the minister, Charles A. Washburn, escaped in September through the opportune arrival of the United States war vessel " Wasp," two attaches were seized and tortured. Their lives were spared, however, and they were surrendered to an American squadron in December. Early in January, 1869, after the capture of Humaita, Villeta, and Angostura, Asuncion was occupied by the allied forces, and Lopez retired to Birabibi. By successive defeats during" 1869, notwithstanding an obstinate resistance, aided even by a corps of Amazons under Mrs. Lynch, Lopez was gradually driven to the extreme northern boundary of Paraguay. When he was about to cross the river Aquidaban, he was surprised by a detachment of Brazilian cavalry. The Brazilian general, Camara, in vain summoned him to surrender; but his strength gave way as he was swimming to the opposite bank, and while bleeding from his wounds he was killed by two Brazilian soldiers, his last words being: "I die for my country." Mrs. Lynch was overtaken in her flight. The eldest son, Pancho, in the uniform of a colonel, fired upon the Brazilian chief lieutenant, Martinez, who thereupon killed him, and he was buried by the side of his father. Mrs. Lynch went to England. The forces of Lopez, reduced to about 1,500, at once laid down their arms. See "Seven Eventful Years in Paraguay," by George F. Masterman (London, 1869), and "History of Paraguay," by Charles A. Washburn (2 vols., Boston, 1870).

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